What is a Dapp? A Brief Explanation

D + App

For starters, Dapp is a portmanteau of Decentralized App.

By definition, it’s an application that’s capable of trading currency without going through a centralized source. Great! What does that mean?

Let’s start with the Parable of the Bank

Ordinarily when we exchange currency, we send money, it gets approved through a bank and then the currency is delivered to another person or business. The bank takes a fee for ensuring the transaction is managed smoothly and legally.

In this tale, the bank can be perceived as either the seedy middle man who wants a cut of the deal or as the mighty financial institution that safely transports your assets. However you choose to see it, the bank serves as the intermediary between you and someone else. This is the core function crypto enthusiasts find problematic. As we at Merfolk Games like to imagine it, all the sleek business people on Wall Street are whispering to one another, “how do we cut out the middleman?”

In short, before now, a safe and secure process didn’t exist for managing currency without a centralized hub to legitimize transactions. With the blockchain movement, we have a solution.


Some call Bitcoin the first Dapp. It’s a secure network of exchangeable information. Bitcoin ensures safe transactions that use publicly available, open source code, which enables user and developer consensus. How does this remove the centralized hub? Well, all records pertaining to the Dapp are stored on a publicly available blockchain that is verified by everyone who uses the blockchain, rather than the bank. Anyone who helps secure these transactions is rewarded with the currency itself, i.e. Bitcoin Miners. So, how does that make Bitcoin a Dapp? Well, it’s the first decentralized application that uses a public blockchain to safely and securely verify currency transactions without a centralized hub. Farwell, ye olde bank and the current world order.


If we’ve achieved all of this with Bitcoin, why does Ethereum exist? Ethereum, the second most popular cryptocurrency, takes what we learned from Bitcoin and makes it more developer-friendly. Using the Ethereum platform, developers can program “smart contracts” for Dapps that are stored on the Ethereum blockchain. This functionality means we no longer need to create a new blockchain for every new Dapp. Instead, developers use Ethereum’s blockchain to deploy their own projects. 

Like Bitcoin, the Ethereum blockchain has many nodes, rather than just one hub. This makes it difficult for the network to ever go offline. As we learned from the bank, it only takes one operational node to achieve the desired results, so a multi-nodal system is a very stable way to verify transactions. Applications built on the blockchain are resilient, meaning it’s impossible to take down an application unless every node in the network is removed. Developers are free to create the Dapp they want without any fear of being bought out by a large institution and shut down. The application will live on in the blockchain to be used by all who choose to do so. Without need for a middleman to manage all of these financial transactions, Dapps can be built with more possibilities in mind. 

Why make a use of the blockchain for a gaming Dapp?

Great question! …that we asked. At Merfolk Games, we want to make sure that user data is secure and that players actually own their in-game assets.

There are many advantages to blockchain tech: its new, shiny, safe-to-use and provides new possibilities for gaming. We want to make sure that whatever our player owns actually belongs to them and is always available on the Ethereum blockchain.There are also several functional purposes: we don’t have to spend time storing your data on our servers and players can make use of the blockchain’s trading capability to securely trade their in-game assets, even within our Dapp! It’s the perfect way to add a real economy to a mobile game. If we build the structure for a fun game with battling, empire-building and trading that hosts a robust decentralized economy, why not also earn some crypto from your pocket while playing? That’s our goal with CryptoCrusades and why Dapp tech is the best fit for our game.

Thanks for reading!

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John Constantine Tobin
Narrative Designer, Merfolk Games